SharePoint Planning for Beginners


I had the pleasure of helping a couple of future SharePoint administrators learn the ropes of SharePoint Site Collections.

They learned what works and what doesn’t work when designing a SharePoint Site Collection for the four common types of users:

  • Administrations
  • Content Managers
  • Contributors
  • Consumers

We outlined a basic course of action for them to achieve success in this exciting rollout. Although the steps in the following outline can be completed in a different order, we decided this was the best sequence for their situation.

  • Storyboard the Site Collection and Plan for:
    • Structure
    • Permissions
    • Navigation
    • Meta Data
  • Consult with Future Site Owners and Early Users
  • Build the Sites
  • Build the Lists, Libraries, Pages
  • Configure Navigation
    • Look to the Storyboard for Guidance
  • Start Evangelizing the new Site Collection to build Excitement
  • Add initial content to the Sites
    • List items
    • Library documents
    • Page text, graphics, web parts
    • Apply filters to web parts
  • Build the User Groups
  • Stop Permission Inheritance where Required
  • Grant Groups Permission to Sites, Lists, Libraries
  • Continue Evangelizing the new Site Collection
  • Populate Groups with Site Owners and Early Users
  • Train Site Owners and Early Users
  • Check for Content Accuracy and Functionality
  • Make Adjustments where needed
  • Continue Evangelizing the new Site Collection
  • Populate Groups with people: Administrations, Content Managers, Contributors and Consumers
  • Offer Users Training/Learning Sessions and Videos
  • Continue Evangelizing the new Site Collection
  • Document all changes and updates in an easy to access SharePoint site

By following a plan of action and checking progress, a basic SharePoint site collection can be built in a matter of days or even hours. Sure, we all know there are customizations, nuances and other considerations. But for the most part a simple approach to a SharePoint rollout can have long-lasting benefits and will work just as well as a fully customized site collection; maybe even better!

Happy SharePoint to everyone!



FYI: SharePoint Sites and SharePoint Pages

Learn  how Pages make a Sharepoint Site GREAT!

We all love food, so…
Here’s a Cooking analogy:

You’re having friends over for a formal dinner. Not a casual dinner where everyone gathers in the kitchen. No. This time you have told all your guests that they are not allowed in the kitchen for this special night of dining.

In your kitchen, you have all the ingredients to make a fine, wonderful meal for your guests.
Continue reading “FYI: SharePoint Sites and SharePoint Pages”

Business Document Discovery – the Future is Now and You Should Get Involved Now

Get to know The 2 Cs of Knowledge management that drive Document Discovery

Context and Collections

(If you missed last weeks post about DDK, read it here)

Context is a widely-overlooked aspect of document and data storage.

Think about your current document storage solution:

  • Who decided the current storage structure and location?
  • How has it evolved?
  • Has it remained the same for the past 1, 2… 5 years?
  • Which folder and document naming conventions have been followed consistently, if any?

Context is key to storing documents in a way that guides people to the needed documents. Surrounding your documents with context helps present documents to you, based on where you are and what you are currently doing.
Continue reading “Business Document Discovery – the Future is Now and You Should Get Involved Now”

What are you doing with all your business DDK?

time is money

What are you doing with your business D D K?

We have been storing our documents in network shared drives for a very long time. The system of a shared drive works well enough, but is lacking in dramatic ways that ultimately cost you and your business a whole lot of money and time.


You and your business depend on data. Data comes from everywhere and is stored pretty much everywhere. Data stored in spreadsheets. Data stored in databases. Data stored in attachments hidden in someone’s email inbox. OMG Where is all the data? Answer: Everywhere!!!

data sheet

Does this sound like you and your business? Sure, it does. It’s the way we have been storing documents and data for 30 years. Locating a document, or a snippet of data is a wondrous, magical thing that happens every day and no one really knows how.

It’s a wonder that we can locate what we need, when we need it.
I’m convinced that we manage to get things done by sheer will and muscle.
Things get done, simply because they must get done.

What is your business strategy for storing knowledge? The stuff you and your experienced team know, and will know in the future. Do you have a tool-set or process to store and retrieve the vast amounts of knowledge you have amassed? What? You have no means of storing knowledge?

You may feel that gathering and storing knowledge would be nearly impossible, and for that reason you haven’t done so, yet.
That is a good excuse. But I am here to tell you that you can start collecting and using knowledge, and make use of it every single day. Starting now. Using stored knowledge can increase productivity, ensure greater success and save you gobs of time and money.

In my next post, I will share with you 2 easy ways to start gathering and using the knowledge of your team, right away.

By gathering and making knowledge accessible in 2 key ways, you can decrease document and data search time, and increase productivity.

What if I could help you save each person in your organization 10 minutes per week by making your documents, data and knowledge more accessible? Imagine how much money that counld save a  20,  100,  1000 person organization?

time is money

Here is a clue:
The two Cs of knowledge storage: Context and Collections

I’ll explain later. Watch for my next post (Click here to read it now)

Tom Vorves  Collaboration Evangelist

Power BI – Business Intelligence just got Smarter

Power BI


Watch the webinar here:

We just conducted the first Power BI webinar at Learn iT! with a full house of on-line attendees. We all had an awesome session of discovery!

Power BI is a great platform of programs designed to put powerful data analytics in the hands of all of us.

The beauty is you don’t need to be a “big data” person to use the tools of Power BI and see the benefits straight away.

All you need is some data, a little training and you can be producing amazing, stunning visuals in no time.

You will produce visuals that allow for better, timely business decisions based on any type of data you can imagine.

Watch for my next post for a link to our next Learn iT! Power BI webinar!!

If you sign up for our next Power BI Bootcamp (Nov 29) before Nov 4 you will get a 55% discount on the price of admission.

Learn more at Learn iT!

There is a reason it’s called POWER BI.  Come find out for yourself.

Watch the webinar here:

Meta Data Labels: SharePoint Libraries vs Shared Network Drives

If you’re not using Meta Data – you’re doing it wrong

Adopting SharePoint into your file sharing ecosystem?
Do yourself a favor and give meta data a long hard look

For many years now we have been using our hard disks and network file shares to store files with 6 labels (meta data):
1. name
2. extension
3. file size
4. creation date
5. modification date
6. folder (path)

The File Name is “supposed” to help you find the file later on. But file names are subjective. We humans are very different from one another and therefore use different naming conventions or no naming convention at all.

How can a team or company effectively establish a filing system that makes sense and helps with finding documents quickly?

Instead of relying solely on a file name to identify a document, SharePoint allows us to create other meta data to describe our documents:

meta data

In addition to the standard 6 meta data, SharePoint documents can be described with other meta data. For example: ‘Related Project’, ‘Owner’, ‘Department’, ‘Status’, ‘Image Type’, ‘Document Type’, or ‘Subject‘ as pictured above.

To learn more about meta data in SharePoint, watch for next week’s blog post about using meta data in SharePoint libraries.

Meta Data Columns are what make SharePoint a far better solution for document storage and retrieval.




4 reasons why collaboration software is such a big deal and why you need to start using it now

Together we can do so much
collaborate with SharePoint
Collaborate with SharePoint

Collaboration software is here to stay. If you have not yet jumped on the collaboration band wagon, you are missing out on some great productivity tools that could help you and your team work better together.

  1. Longevity & moving forward
    Software giants like Microsoft, Adobe, Sales Force are not only selling collaboration software, they are using it as well. Applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint are now being used as Web Apps. More applications are available and many more are being developed.
  2. Inexpensive and easy to use
    Using collaboration software allows small and large companies alike, manage projects, communicate with team members and customers from anywhere in the world. People are shifting away from cluttered email and using collaboration software instead for effective communication.
  3. Platform/OS independent
    Collaboration software such as Microsoft SharePoint runs solely though a browser. So if you use Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Windows or Apple OS, iOS or Android, you can use SharePoint with it’s HTML5 compliant webpages.
  4. Content available everywhere all the time
    With solid authentication tools, collaboration software is securely available from anywhere a team member has access to the internet with almost any browser. Access to documents, discussions and lists is as easy as going to a website address.

Getting started with SharePoint or other collaboration software such as Huddle and Podio is easy and inexpensive. Since so many people, companies, corporations are using collaboration tools more and more, you need to get on board and learn these tools too so you can keep up and be part of the brave new world.

Contact me if you want more information about learning and implementing SharePoint in your business.

The Keyboard Shortcuts You Need are here

Microsoft Corp Office Web Apps

Microsoft Office Web Apps Keyboard Shortcuts Here are the official links to Microsoft Office Web Apps Accessibility Features, including helpful keyboard shortcuts, tips and tricks. Enjoy.

Keyboard shortcuts in Outlook Online

Keyboard shortcuts in Word Online

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel Online

Keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint Online

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote Online

Learn more about Office 365 and Microsoft Web Apps


VLookup – Let’s Learn Together

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 1

VLookup. V stands for ‘Victory’.  Well, not this time. It actually stands for ‘Vertical’. But, once you learn to use this popular function of Microsoft Excel, you WILL feel victorious.

Use VLookup when you have two sets of data that you would like to turn into one. For instance: You may have a list of invoices of products purchased. You may also have a separate list of products on another Excel sheet. The challenge is to ‘marry’ these two lists, bringing the needed information from both lists into a single, complete list.

I have included a link to a file you can download so you can follow along as you read through this blog lesson. For your reference, the completed file is available for download as well.

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 2

In this example we will use VLookup to bring the Sales Price from the Products list over to the Invoices list Rate column. We will use the Product Name in the Invoices list to ‘look up’ the same Product Name in the Products list.

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 3

Once we find the correct product name, we can ‘index’ over to the Sale Price column and send it back to the Invoices list Rate column. In this case invoice ‘A001’ shows a ‘UPS’ unit was purchased. Take a look at the Products list and notice ‘UPS”, glance over to column 2 and see the price for a UPS is $148. Now we will put the $148 into invoice line A001 under the Rate column.

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 4

To start a VLookup formula, we must first reference the cell we want to “look up”. In this case we will look up cell D2 in the Invoice list and compare it to the first column (column 1)  in the Products list. The ‘vertical’ aspect of VLookup refers to the fact that VLookup will start looking from the top of  column 1 in the Products list and continue looking down (vertically) until it finds a match.

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 5

When a match is found, we then instruct VLookup to ‘index’ over to the column we would like to return to the Invoice list. Since we are looking to find the Sale Price/Rate of the Product, we specify column 2. (If we wanted to return the corresponding Product Category we would specify column 3)

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 6

There is one more part of the VLookup we must consider. VLookup has two modes of operation: True and False. Think of this as a question: “Is this a RANGE lookup?” In other words are we looking for a product name that is similar to “UPS”, or are we looking for “UPS” exactly? We are looking for an EXACT match, not a ‘close enough’ match. So in this example, the answer would be FALSE to the question: “Is this a range lookup?”

Vlookup Microsoft Excel

Carolyn, here is the VLookup formula entered into cell F2 of the Invoices list:

=VLOOKUP(D2,‘Products List’!$A$2:$C$23,2,FALSE)

D2 is the relative cell reference we want to look up

‘Products List’!$A$2:$C$23 is the absolute range where VLookup will find the information on the Products sheet in cells A2:C23

2 refers to the 2nd column in the lookup table. This is the column we want to send back to Invoices when a product match is found

FALSE instructs VLookup to find an exact match, not simply a ‘close’ match

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 7Now that you have the formula entered into cell F2, use the Autofill Handle on the lower right corner of F2 (the active cell) and double click (or drag) to copy the formula to the bottom of the list.


If  you downloaded the exercise file for this lesson, you will notice that I have included a ‘Salesperson List’ sheet for you to practice VLookup. Using what you have learned, try to build a VLookup formula to look up the Country of Sales and bring it to the Invoice sheet.

Here is the formula if you want to check your work:

=VLOOKUP(C2,’Salesperson List’!$A$2:$D$17,3,FALSE)

I have included a link to a file you can download, so you can follow along as you read through this blog lesson. For your reference, the completed file is available for download as well.

Enjoy the sweet taste of Victory.

The Hard Disk Turns 60

2016 will be 60 years

since the first Hard Disk was invented. A whopping 5 megabytes was in the form of a box the size of a San Francisco apartment.

Here it is being loaded on a plane in 1956:

5mbHarddrive   5mbHardDrive2

It is difficult for most of us to relate to the large numbers that describe computer storage.

Megabytes and Terabytes are terms we commonly throw around to identify how large our hard drives, flash drives and SSD drives are.

For you geeks out there: To put matters into perspective, here is a link to play with the numbers and do your own comparisons: Convert storage Bytes.

It would take 500,000 of the boxes you see pictured here being loaded on this plane to be equal to the size of most hard drives shipping in new computers today! That’s 1/2 Million of these original hard drives stuffed into a single laptop!

One of those great little 8 gigabyte flash drives we have hanging from a keychain (costs about $9) has easily 1,600 times more capacity than the first hard drive!

If these numbers make your head spin, you’re not alone.

I am happy storage keeps getting smaller while the capacity keeps getting larger.

What’s next? Wearable computers? No way. That’s crazy talk!!!